Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda By D.I. Jolly

It was a Thursday afternoon when Doug decided that he’d wasted his life. He was sitting on the steps outside the courthouse where he’d just been told that his now ex-wife was getting full custody of their child and dog. And he thought to himself.

“Of all the things I could have done, of all the paths that have been laid out in front of me, how did I end up picking this one? What series of mistakes led me to here?”

It was something he’d thought over a few times over the course of the last year, discovering that he was miserable, letting that pain and sadness get the better of him, sleeping with his best friend Tina. Which marked a drastic turning point in his life. It wasn’t the spark that set fire to everything, he and his ex-wife were already separated, but it was used against him as they were still legally married. And now Tina refused to take his calls, so he was also down one best friend. Doug had made another mistake thinking that it was just a one-time thing, a bit of drunken fun. He missed that Tina had been in love with him for years, and her heart broke up against the realisation that, to him, they were still just friends.

Doug also knew that if he could just get her to talk to him, they could probably straighten things out. As he sat there, he even considered trying to make it work with her. He loved her, in his own way, they laughed and always got along. He was now well and truly single, again, for the first time in 20 years. Why not Tina?

“Because Doug,” he thought to himself, “You’re not that kind of in love with her, you’d be playing with her, using her, and making another massive mistake. Just like the last time.”

And there it was, the cold hard truth. To get together with Tina would be to make the same mistake again. The same one that he’d made with his ex-wife. They got together because it was easy, it was convenient, and there lay his answer. There lay the series of mistakes and wrong choices that had gotten him to where he was.

For as far back as he could remember, for as long as he’d been a thinking choosing person, Doug Leventhorpe had always, ALWAYS, taken the easy road. The most comfortable, and convenient paths. Never considering the consequences for very long, never factoring in the long term effects it would have on him or anyone else involved, just simply,

“How much effort is it going to take.”

Of the paths he’d been presented with, the choices he could have made, the things he should have done and the many different lives he would have had, the one he picked was the easiest. And when it started to fall apart around him, he took the easy road out, found the comfortable way and lost out again. And in fact, when he buried down deep into the darker part of his soul, a part of him was glad to lose custody of his child and dog. Because now he only had to look after himself. He didn’t have to take a dog out twice a day, or deal with a teenager of divorced parents. He didn’t like that idea, but he also couldn’t shake it. It was the truth.

He continued to sit thinking for a few more minutes until his lawyer came to him to apologise, to point out a few options for appeal and to explain what the ruling meant in practical terms, but the whole time they spoke all Doug could think about was that he’d get pizza on the way home, because it meant he didn’t have to cook, or do dishes.

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